Why are we meant to respect sex workers?

(373 Posts)
FlamedToACrisp Wed 12-Aug-20 23:42:22

OK, I appreciate I came to the feminism party late. You lot are all on your fourth drinks and the buffet table is half-empty, but I'm still trying to edge my way into the conversation and make sense of it all. So please don't do the sneering 'educate yourself' thing - if you don't want to talk to me about this subject, I'll just go and sit in the kitchen and talk to the dog.


Over recent years (at my age, anything after 1990 feels recent), the term 'prostitute' has become 'sex worker.' And with it, the attitude to prostitutes has changed. I was brought up to regard them as either mercenary law-breakers or nympho sinner sluts encouraging married men to be unfaithful, but now I'm supposed to feel they're just women (or men) choosing this way to make their living and we shouldn't be judgemental.

I haven't looked into this issue; lucky me, it has not impinged much on my life, although obviously I'm aware there are sex trafficking considerations. Have I got it right or misunderstood? What's the cause of this change?

So, is prostitution now socially ok? And if so, why is 'prostitute' an unacceptable term?

OP’s posts: |
houseofcardsdown Wed 12-Aug-20 23:45:10


ComeOnBabyPopMyBubble Wed 12-Aug-20 23:47:47

* . I was brought up to regard them as either mercenary law-breakers or nympho sinner sluts encouraging married men to be unfaithful*

Your issue is with whomever brought you up like that.

Clumsyduck Wed 12-Aug-20 23:51:01

No you are right they are all just nymphos who cottoned on they could get paid for doing something they love to do anyway . Or not


boatyardblues Wed 12-Aug-20 23:51:30

Houseofcardsdown has it.

FlamedToACrisp Wed 12-Aug-20 23:52:21

My parents are both dead. But generally speaking, everyone I knew thought that way about them in the 1960s or 70s.

OP’s posts: |
SuperficialSuzie Wed 12-Aug-20 23:55:44

We are meant to respect sex workers as we are meant to respect everyone.

Your views are dehumanising towards sex workers who are vulnerable / fragile people who are being sexually abused by (usually) men.


WilheldivaHater Wed 12-Aug-20 23:56:12

You are meant to respect sex workers because they are human beings who don't deserve to be labelled as "sluts" who "tempt married men"

The men who use human beings for sex and think that a financial incentive is the same as proper consent are the ones undeserving of respect.

FlamedToACrisp Wed 12-Aug-20 23:56:34

@houseofcardsdown I take it your biscuit means, "I know all about this issue, so you're a fool for not knowing as much as I do."

OP’s posts: |
JadesRollerDisco Wed 12-Aug-20 23:56:43

I believe sex work/prostitution is exploitive and calling it work and making it woke let's people off the hook from challenging the patriarchal system, misogyny and inequality that leads them to that 'Job.' We used to blame the prostitutes for being sinful, now it's just women doing what they can to earn a living. Women hungry for sin, for sex, for cash, for other people's husbands. And we don't bother ask about the men. It's the punters who are to Blame for prostitution/ sex work not the prostitutes/workers. If there are no customers you have to shut up shop.

DelphiniumBlue Wed 12-Aug-20 23:57:29

but now I'm supposed to feel they're just women (or men) choosing this way to make their living and we shouldn't be judgemental.*
I think these days it's recognised that in many (most)cases , it is not a freely made choice. Issues of poverty, addiction, manipulation and coercion and sex trafficking are better understood in terms of the "choices" sex workers make.
If you are an immigrant with no recourse to state support,(for example you leave the violent partner who has leave to remain but your right to stay is extinguished once you are no longer his partner, and you have to support your children, with no right to work, what choices do you realistically have? If you are an addict and need to fund a habit and pay off your ever increasing debt to your supplier, how much choice do you have? If the person who got you into the country under false pretences hides your passport and threatens to tell the authorities you are here illegally, what do you do? If you have such low self-esteem that you think being used as a sex toy is worth the money you get, is that really a choice?
I don't think there are many sex workers who given the choice, of a decent job, the education and the affordable childcare, would still carry on plying their trade.

ComeOnBabyPopMyBubble Wed 12-Aug-20 23:58:12

You're supposed to respect them because they are people. It's that simple.

Now if you meet one who is a dick and horrible to you,then fair enough.

To disrespect and consider as less a big proportion of people based simply on the fact they're sex workers(many not by choice) is stupid , archaic and mysoginistic (considering the majority of sex worker are female).

Anordinarymum Thu 13-Aug-20 00:00:04

I don't think they are hungry for other women's husbands. They don't specifically target 'husbands' and they don't advertise mainstream do they

ErrolTheDragon Thu 13-Aug-20 00:00:26

No, prostitution isn't 'socially ok', but I'd start my judgements with conditions which cause women to have to do it, and with the users. Blame the married man, he's the one breaking his promises, not the woman he seeks out to use.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 13-Aug-20 00:00:35

I've seen very little respect for sex workers on this board OP. They're all seen as victims or "Handmaids" here.

Itisbetter Thu 13-Aug-20 00:00:36

Man pays to use vulnerable humans orifice/s for sex. One perpetrator one victim.

Terranean Thu 13-Aug-20 00:02:47

This thread might interest you www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3993546-Why-are-prostitutes-called-sex-workers

MotherOfGreyhound Thu 13-Aug-20 00:03:00

Your parents encouraged you to view prostituted women as sinful, and liberal feminism says you should see them as empowered.
Personally, I think both of these approaches are wrong. I also think it is interesting that neither of these views has anything to say about the men who pay for sex. Why is that, do you suppose?

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 13-Aug-20 00:05:13

We used to blame women for men's actions - that's the patriarchy.

We now understand that commercial sexual exploitation is one of the forces that oppresses women; that women working in the sex trade usually aren't doing that by choice; that the women who say they are doing that by choice are of course able to claim their own experience but are very much the exception that proves the rule; and above all we know that a man is not a prize to be tempted away from a wife - they are sentient beings with choice and boy do they like to choose to stick their dicks in the nearest available hole.


DioneTheDiabolist Thu 13-Aug-20 00:07:39

liberal feminism says you should see them as empowered.

No it doesn't. Some liberal feminists say that, but not all.

pallisers Thu 13-Aug-20 00:08:12


My parents are both dead. But generally speaking, everyone I knew thought that way about them in the 1960s or 70s.

There is your problem. The people you were reared with and the people you socialised with - not very nice.

My parent were born in the 1920s and were religious - and even they didn't think like you do about prostitutes.

You might want to work on your development of decent human values before you start on the feminism stuff,

winerack19 Thu 13-Aug-20 00:09:45

holy moly! Pormer prostitute/sex worker here.
Story time.

I was living in Australia at the time. I had been there almost 2 years with my visa expiring and no option to stay other than to go on a student visa. I'd seriously been considering doing my masters anyway back in the UK but after 2 years in Aus, I'd really made a life and home-away-from-home for myself. The thought of leaving was awful, and I really didn't have much back in the UK that made going back an appealing option.

But as an international student I was looking a t $80,000 or roughly £44,000 for a 2 years masters degree. 27 year old me was a pretty good saver, but I was still about £20,000 off. Plus I didn't really want to have to use up all my savings soooo...

I end up chatting to a friend of a friend at a party about it all. She jokingly said "well there's always escorting." My response was "honestly at this stage I'd consider it" and that's when the convo got serious. She'd been an escort for 4 years in Sydney. I quickly learnt how incredibly well escorts are paid here in Australia.

For a standard "girlfriend experience" I charged $350 for half an our, $650 for an hour. For the experience up, $500 half an hour, $900 an hour.

I'd book 3 nights a week in a hotel room and usually see around 8 clients -10 clients. After taxes, cost of hotels, personal grooming etc, I was still making damn good money and I'm sure you can roughly work out that it didn't take me long at all to have my $80,000

I don't have a single regret. It gave me incredible financial security. Afforded me to do a masters in a degree that lead to a career I absolutely love. Very luckily only had a handful of shitty clients in the time I was doing it. I had my head on straight the entire time. And made damn good money doing it.
If you want to judge me that's one thing, but to not respect me as a human being because I was able to get $900 an hour doing something women do for free anyway, I mean that's on you but it's a bit sad.

Anordinarymum Thu 13-Aug-20 00:16:54

It's a massive subject

Some women are exploited
Some women exploit themselves
Some women can't handle in their head that some women choose to do it of their own free will
While there is trafficking and abuse and exploitation of unwilling participants you can never be sure who is and who is not a victim.

Yes there are success stories, there are also stories of cruelty and abuse.

All sex workers are someone's mother, sister, daughter. We are all the same.

2bazookas Thu 13-Aug-20 00:17:25

"we are meant to respect everyone" ? No we bloody are not.

There's zero requirement to respect drunk drivers, burglars, paedophiles, bullies, D Trump, or trolls.

stumbledin Thu 13-Aug-20 00:22:00

There are a number of threads about the issue of prostitution now known by some as sex work.

As other have said already, who is involved in prostitution (normaly a woman) and have the right to be respected.

Prostitution only exists because men demand it. Men aren't helpless victims. Women (primarily) are the victims of this degrading trade.

Most feminists do not support prostitution (google Nordic Model).

More recently some woke liberals have tried to say prostitution (which they attempt to disguise by calling is sex work) is a"choice". But this choice somehow is not one that men make. Which brings us back to women who are economically vulnerable are exploited by men who want impersonal sex ie rape.

The problem is men's attitudes.

And as someone who is some way older than you even though there might have been an implication that women should have tried harder not to fall into prostitution, the scorn was always for men who thought it okay to use women in this way.

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